May 1

May 1, 2004

Steering control progress

Currently, steering is done by both grabbing onto the front pivot support and leaning. In the next version, to clean the airflow around the fairing, there will be only one pivot in the rear and no structure to hold onto when steering. I thought that the addition of a steering lever (bar, wheel, etc) and cables would solve this problem PLUS add a level of stability to the vehicle and keep the arms tucked tight into the fairing for good aerodynamics.

I rigged up my steering lever and after many failed attempts, finally got something that worked VERY well. Combined with two springs to help self-centering, the vehicle no longer wobbles at all when peddling and feels really neat when you steer into a corner. This feels very slick - it has the stability of a trike with the feel of a two wheeler when turning. The levers are operated exactly like a steering bar - to turn right, you pull down with your right arm and push up with your left.

I have two problems now:

1. Steering input Leverage. Two small a movement with the lever at the hand grip produces turning. I can easily solve this by changing the fulcrum point of the lever.

2. Pulley leverage and fairing fit. Since there is a part of the bike that turns and a part of the bike that doesn't turn, to cause a turn you need to tug on one part from the other. If I pull down on my RIGHT lever, I pull a cable which runs to the rear of the bike and then crosses over to the left side and attaches to somewhere around the left wheel - or any convenient connection point on the structure that doesn't pivot (wheels, axle, structure that connects to the pivot, and the pivot itself I guess). If I am pulling from below the steering axis, then the bike pivots right.

The problem is, I need to initiate this pull from far enough below the pivot axis or there won't be enough leverage to get a decent turn out with reasonable effort. And, the fairing gets pretty narrow at the back near my head, so there isn't a lot of room for a long lever. Second is the length of the cable that attaches to the rear structure - I don't want that thing flapping in the wind.

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